Kevin Wood, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was banned from La Plata High School in La Plata, Maryland, after asking that his daughter not be forced to learn about Islam in her world history class, the Daily Caller said Wednesday. After confronting school officials, he found himself under a no-trespass order, meaning that he can’t step foot on the school grounds.
Initially, he called the school and spoke to an administrative assistant. He eventually spoke to vice principal Shannon Morris. According to district spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson, Wood allegedly threatened to cause problems at the school while speaking with Morris, but but did not provide specifics.
“Safety comes first,” she said. “We don’t allow disruptions at the schools, especially if we’re forewarned of them.”
According to an article at SoMdNews, a website that includes work from three local papers, Wood asked that his daughter be excused from the world history class during the time it teaches Islam. Initially, a woman Woods identified as “Ms. Pearl” agreed to investigate the possibility of an alternate assignment. Morris returned the call and said there was no alternative and any assignment the girl missed would receive a failing grade.
“I told her straight up ‘you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive],” Wood said in an interview. “If [students] can’t practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school.”
Wood, a Catholic, denied threatening the school in any way. He did, however, tell the school in another call he would approach the media and “bring a [expletive]storm down on them like they’ve never seen.” On Friday, the school resource officer told Wood by phone he was not allowed on the property. Jennifer Abell, a member of the local school board, said on Facebook that “misinformation” was being spread about the order.
“Nowhere did he ever threaten,” Wood’s wife, Melissa, said. “And this is where it’s gotten totally blown out of proportion.”
Students are required to pass world history to graduate, O’Malley-Simpson said. Part of that course includes the Middle East, which would also include Islam. While policies exist to allow alternate assignments, no alternate exists for world history.
“If parents object to a book that’s assigned, and the assignment is to gather certain reading skills, assigning them a different book doesn’t matter,” she said. “The student still gains the skills and knowledge. In the case of world history and other subjects, it’s part of the curriculum and it’s part of the standards you’re supposed to learn.”
It’s not clear if students learn about Jesus or any story from the Hebrew Bible during the unit on the Middle East, the Daily Caller added. Students, however, must learn about Islam or fail. According to O’Malley-Simpson, students are taught “aspects” of Christianity while covering the Renaissance era and the reformation. They also learn about Hinduism and Buddhism during units on South and East Asia.
Wood’s daughter did not attend her world history class on Monday and she won’t complete any assignment on Islam, the DC said. She will also receive no credit for those assignments. Melissa Wood says she intends to address the issue with the Maryland Department of Education and state legislators.